(new here? read this first.)

Chef Daniel here.

I love food.  I will eat anything. Absolutely anything. Except duck. That’s another post. I’m envious of Anthony Bourdain. What a job – travel and food. Yum.

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t. From time to time, I think about it. The list is something like this – what I’m doing now, photo journalist, think tank-er, rich person with lots of free time, and chef.

I really love food. I love cooking. I love preparing, chopping, sauteing, marinating, grilling, and so on. I enjoy creating food experiences for people. It’s incredibly relaxing and a great creative outlet. I often think about winning the lottery and enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. It sounds idyllic. And then I could hang out with Gordon Ramsay.

Perhaps the greatest food experience I’ve ever had was on a trip to Singapore with my dear friend Despi. Singapore eating represents a complete fusion of global cuisine. Wow. I ate things I had never heard of, seen or tasted. There were moments where I had my doubts. Things looked scary. And some things I wasn’t sure how to eat. But it was all incredibly delicious. Unforgettable. And yes, I drank a Singapore Sling.

Travel provides that authentic food experience. Which is a reason I love traveling so much – experimenting with local cuisine. One of my goals is to keep embracing these food opportunities so that I can bring them home with me. They can shape my food prep techniques. Travel can be my cooking school. I need to get going on that.

If any of you come across any new media, photo journalist, think tank, chef/travel opportunities that would make me extremely wealthy with an abundance of free time, please let me know. I’ll give you a cut of the action. I’ll even cook for you. But not duck.

food

Singapore grub

I’m Casey and my husband Cody once took me to this place in Rochester, New York called Nick Tahou’s Hots, Famous for the Garbage Plate. We had been married less than a year and aside from our honeymoon (which sucked-DO OVER!) this was our first vacation together and we ended up eating something called “garbage plates.”

Cody wonders why when I request a vacation I also request it involve fruity drinks with umbrellas and food that does not originate from a garbage bag.

What bothers me most is that Nick Tahou’s met every standard I have for the *perfect* hole in the wall restaurant, busy at all hours of the day, questionable appearance inside and out, salty employees and a crazy variety of customers preferably containing the elderly, college kids and some cops. The presence of local cops (or firefighters) at a hole in the wall is better better than a Zagat rating for me.

Dude, they even serve garbage plates at the New York State fair.

That’s practically GIFT WRAPPING A RESTAURANT IN A TIFFANY’S BOX FOR ME.

Alas, I hated it. I ate maybe three bites and was done despite the old school lunch benches, the stooped over couple in the booth next to us, the employee that barked at me in a thick NYC accent when I dared use all the syllables in the word “hamburger.” (Hint, at Nick’s it’s “hamburg.”) Even the cops hollering at each other from outside couldn’t win this place over for me.

I’m still pretty ticked about it. Mostly because a brilliant theory I came up with that is always! true, isn’t always true. It’s almost always true. I hate almost always, it’s risky. Babies? Babies are almost always cute, face it, there’s a chance you could end up with a dud, admit it, they’re out there. Politicians are almost always liars. Really screws up the whole benefit of the doubt for the honest ones. Traffic is almost always good on West 70 after 9 am. Except for when it’s not and you get stuck in traffic for several hours.

Don’t tell Cody, but I want to go back. I want to give it a second shot. Maybe my tastebuds are dulled after eight years and just maybe loads of questionable food piled on top of each other, smothered in sauce, topped with hots and hamburgs and served with bread out of a garbage bag is delicious. It has to be.

I am almost always right about these things.